August 23, 2022 – Ready Player Me, an avatar platform for the metaverse that allows users to explore virtual worlds with one consistent identity, has recently announced USD $56 million in Series B funding.
The funding round was led by a16z GAMES FUND ONE and a16z crypto, with participation from Plural, David Baszucki, co-founder of Roblox, Justin Kan, co-founder of Twitch and Fractal, Robin Chan, co-founder of Fractal, Henry Ault, co-founder of Eco, Sebastian Knutsson & Riccardo Zacconi, King Games co-founders, Collab Currency, Endeavor, Kevin Hart’s Hartbeat Ventures, D’Amelio family, Punk6529, Snowfro, Nordic Ninja, Konvoy and more.
The company stated that with the new funding, it aims to:
- Scale the Ready Player Me avatar creator to make it more flexible and performant for the many types of developers the company works with;
- Build avatar content creation tools to enable developers, brands and individual artists to create and sell avatar customization assets that work across thousands of virtual worlds;
- Improve avatar diversity with body types, granular clothing customization, more accurate face shape prediction, stylization and more;
- Include other avatars on Ready Player Me.
Commenting on the last point, Timmu Tõke, Ready Player Me’s CEO and Co-founder, stated: “We’re not aiming to be the only avatar in the metaverse. The goal is to help any avatars to travel across virtual worlds.”
According to the company, the metaverse is not a single app, but a network of millions of virtual worlds that people can visit to play games, socialize and collaborate. Today, most of those worlds are closed and disconnected walled gardens. Ready Player Me (as well as many others) believe in the future of an open and connected metaverse that is built by many developers and creators and is not controlled by one company. This concept is referred to as the “open metaverse.”
For the open metaverse to emerge, cross-world services and standards that enable virtual worlds to be connected and interoperable must be built. Avatars and identities play a huge role in that, and as Tõke points out in his funding announcement, it is essential for anyone to be able to create an avatar they love and take it to any virtual world they want.
This is essentially why Ready Player Me exists—to break down walls to build a more connected virtual world and act as the “avatar interoperability layer” for the metaverse.
The funding will also help Ready Player Me to scale up its team of 51 people and will give the company financial stability for the unpredictable markets ahead. Ready Player Me added that many developers are relying on the company as a key feature of their products.
Addressing developers in the announcement post, Tõke added: “We aim to make [building a game or a virtual world] slightly less painful for developers by removing an important and complex part they have to spend their time on — building an avatar creator. It makes no sense for each game to build its own closed avatar creators. We’ve spent eight years building avatar tech, so they don’t have to. Our tools give developers a world-class avatar creator they can integrate in days. This leaves more capacity for the core experience of their games and will result in a better overall experience.”
Over time, Tõke stated that Ready Player Me will enable developers to take part in the cross-game metaverse economy, noting: “Would you rather buy a skin that works in 1 game or 3,000?” By building an open marketplace of avatar assets (with the right economics for developers) the company believes it will increase the market size for everyone involved and will create a much better end-user experience.
Ready Player Me is currently hiring, with several positions listed on the company’s jobs page. For more information on Ready Player Me and its avatar creation platform, please visit the company’s website.
Image credit: Ready Player Me
About the author
Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past five years.